Spanish phrasebook: “I don’t speak Spanish” and other useful phrases

Spanish phrasebook – Phrases in Spanish with audio

“I don’t speak Spanish” and other useful phrases

Contents: Video and audio for learning Spanish.

In this section, you will find a survival kit of phrases to help you deal with any difficult situation: saying that you don’t speak Spanish, asking someone to repeat or to speak more slowly etc.


Topic summary in one video:

We have put together the most important words and phrases in one video to help you remember them as quickly as possible. Below the video you will find the list of all the new words and phrases with explanations.


Listen to the audio and read the explanations on how to use the words in day-to-day Spanish speech.

Section do you speak Spanish

Do you speak Spanish?

Let’s learn some useful expressions that will help you explain which language you speak and ask which language others speak. These are the most typical phrases that foreign people use to start a conversation:

¿Usted habla…?
Do you speak…? (formal)

¿Tú hablas…?
Do you speak…? (informal)

Now that we already know the structure of the question let’s add the actual languages to complete the sentences. We will also omit the pronouns at the beginning of the questions in order to sound more natural:

¿Habla español?
Do you speak Spanish? (formal)

¿Hablas español?
Do you speak Spanish? (informal)

¿Habla inglés?
Do you speak English? (formal)

¿Habla ruso?
Do you speak Russian? (formal)

Hablo… español / ruso / inglés.
I speak… Spanish / Russian / English

No hablo… francés / alemán / chino.
I don’t speak… French / German / Chinese.

About modern Spanish
How do they call the Spanish language: español or castellano?

Students of Spanish often ask this question: How should I call the language properly: “español” or “castellano”? There are countries (Mexico, for example) where they usually say “español” when speaking of the language, and there are others where they usually call the language “castellano” (in Argentina, for example). However, from the linquistic point of view, both names are correct and can be used when reffering to the same language. Thus, you can either say “castellano” or “español”.

Section do you understand me

Do you understand me? Yes, I do.

Try to memorize the phrases given below. As soon as you start speaking to someone in a foreign language you will see that these phrases are the most useful tool for avoiding misunderstandings. Do they understand me? Do I really understand what they are saying?

¿Me entiende?
Do you understand me? (formal)

¿Me entiendes?
Do you understand me? (informal)

Sí, entiendo.
Yes, I do. / Yes, I understand.

No, no entiendo.
No, I don’t understand.

Section how do you say this in Spanish

How do you say it in Spanish?

These phrases will help you widen your vocabulary because from now on you’ll be able to ask how to say any word in Spanish. Just point your finger to the object in question and say:

¿Cómo se dice esto en español?
How do you say it in Spanish?
Literal translation: How is it said in Spanish?

No sé cómo se dice esto en español.
I don’t know how to say it in Spanish.

Esto en español se dice…
In Spanish it is…

“Libro” en inglés se dice “book”.
“Libro” in English is “book”.

Spanish traditions
If you are a foreigner you are allowed to point with your finger

In most countries of the world, pointing with your finger is a sign of bad manners. Spanish countries are not an exception. Nevertheless, if you are a foreigner and you point at something with your finger nobody will think bad of you. You can point with your finger at an object and ask: ¿Cómo se dice esto en español? or even point at a person and say: ¿Cómo él se llama?. People in Spanish speaking countries are always happy when somebody tries to speak their language and will most probably help you in any way they can.

Section repeat please

Repeat, please

The phrases that we are going to see in this section will help you explain something very important: that your Spanish domain is not the best in the world but with a bit of patience you could still understand what they are saying:

Perdón, no entiendo.
Sorry, I don’t understand.

Repita, por favor.
Repeat, please.

¿Podría repetir, por favor?
Could you repeat, please?

Spanish traditions
Don’t be scared if they speak loud

A normal Spanish conversation is usually way louder than an English one. That’s the reason why two Spanish people talking about some innocent topic like the weather might look like they are having a fight. So, if you ask someone to repeat in Spanish what they have just said you might get an impression that they’ve started screaming at you. But it’s not what it looks like. In their attempt to be more clear, Spanish speaking people become even louder than usual. If you spend some time living in Spain or any country of Latin America you’ll probably start speaking louder yourself.

Hable más despacio, por favor.
Speak more slowly, please.

¿Podría hablar más despacio, por favor?
Could you speak more slowly, please?

¿Podría decir esto con otras palabras?
Could you say it with other words?

Escríbalo, por favor.
Write it down, please.

Now let’s see the same phrases but this time, we’ll address our interlocutor using “tú”. Don’t forget that in Spain, the informal “tú” is the most usual way to address people.

Perdona, no entiendo.
Sorry, I don’t understand.

Repite, por favor.
Repeat, please.

Habla más despacio, por favor.
Speak more slowly, please.

Escríbelo, por favor.
Write it down, please.

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